Emerging jewellery designer on building a brand in Britain.
The January issue of Professional Jeweller was all about celebrating British jewellery talent and looking at what UK companies can do to take their jewels global. Here emerging jewellery designer Jane Gowans, who is based in Scotland, gives her views on being a jeweller in the UK and what we can do to ensure more jewellers keep manufacturing in Britain.
Professional Jeweller: What makes a jewellery brand British?
Jane Gowans: At Jane Gowans we are passionate about designing, producing and hand finishing all of our products in Britain. This is key, as by producing a wholly British product, we are not only celebrating but also supporting the strong and talented jewellery industry based in this country as well as offering our customers a home grown product.
PJ: What are your views on British jewellery companies that do manufacture their goods overseas?
JG: It is clear however that with the increased routes to wider global manufacturing and the reduced costs that are associated with this production that many designers may feel it is an advantageous approach. Traditionally, I believe that being a British brand means the majority of the company should be based in Britain and, ideally, that the product should be produced exclusively within the UK.
PJ: There is a lot of fresh jewellery talent in the UK – what can the industry do to support new brands like yours?
JG: I think it is for established designers to spearhead the charge to championing British talent. Platforms for promoting talent such as Rock Vault at London Fashion Week, the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 and IJL’s Kick Start are also key. It would be great to see some of the larger UK department stores taking greater risks in the designers they stock, as often they act as the key taste-makers, pushing younger talent and what might been seen as edgy design into the mainstream spotlight.
PJ: You make all your jewellery in the UK. What do you feel that the British jewellery manufacturing industry could do to make more designers work in this way?
JG: Creating more awareness of the services offered and the costs involved, perhaps creating tailored packages for emerging designers and new graduates.
PJ: What do you believe the future holds for the British jewellery industry?
JG: Greater innovation of products and design. Stronger links between British industrial processes and technology and jewellery.